Read our COVID-19 research and news.

33% 8% Northern Europe 64% 11% 24% Western Europe Level of trust in scientists, by selected regions 26% 12% 6% United Statesand Canada 12% 36% 20% Central Africa 18% 54% 14% 13% World 15% 15% 9% Eastern Europe 32% 8% 50% 9% Central Asia 13% 30% 5% South America High Medium Low Don’t know/don’t answer 57% 56% 32% 62% 52%

Percentages are rounded and may not add up to 100%.

(Graphic) A. Cuadra/Science; (data) Wellcome Global Monitor

These are the countries that trust scientists the most—and the least

Nearly three-quarters of people worldwide solidly trust scientists: That’s one of the main findings of the Wellcome Global Monitor, a new survey that asked 140,000-plus people in more than 140 countries how they think and feel about health and science. Other polls have asked similar questions, but this one, conducted by Gallup World Poll on behalf of London-based biomedical charity the Wellcome Trust, claims to be the first to study on a global scale how attitudes vary by nationality, gender, income, and education.

An index based on five questions found that 54% of people trust scientists at a medium level and 18% at a high level, whereas 14% have a low level of trust. But regional differences are striking: People in Uzbekistan say they trust scientists the most, residents of Gabon the least. On the benefits of science, more than one-third of people in southern Africa and Latin America say science helps “very few” people in their country.

The survey also explored attitudes toward vaccines and found people in France are the most skeptical. The survey reveals a global gender gap in self-assessments of scientific knowledge: Globally, 49% of men say they know “some” or “a lot” about science—a full 11 percentage points more than women.

Geniuses everywhere

Comparing how people rate their scientific knowledge with actual tests of their acquired knowledge reveals that people in some countries are overconfident in their self-assessments (the United States) whereas people in other countries (China) underestimate how much they know.


(Graphic) A. Cuadra/Science; (data) Wellcome Global Monitor